Tales From My First Murph

crossfit

To begin, I have to say it felt good to do something to memorialize soldiers who lost their lives. I consider myself a patriotic person, but I think three-day weekends like Memorial Day or even the 4th of July can get lost in the things to do, places to go. I’ll admit that I probably do not spend as much time reflecting as I could or should. I tried to fix that this year beyond just doing Murph on Memorial Day, but also in what I read over the weekend.

Murph RX’d is : 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run. Add to all that a twenty pound vest and you are all set. The work out is named after Michael Murphy, who not only performed this work out called “Body Armor” on the regular, but died in Afghanistan exposing himself to fire in order to get signal to report the situation. You can read more about him here. I meant to read this book over the weekend, but it was “lost” in the library.

I was nervous all weekend. I looked up a million articles on Google about Murph, advice for first-timers, what to do, what not to do. The main thing on my to-do list for Saturday and Sunday was to drink water. When Sunday hit the nineties and I saw that Monday would be much the same, I became even more nervous.

All morning on Monday I had some real butterflies in my stomach. I had eggs, bacon, toast, and oatmeal with strawberries. I tried to stretch and calm myself down, but that nervous feeling in my stomach persisted. I let it go, figuring that I would feel better once I arrived at the box. I was right.

I’ve only been doing Crossfit for a few weeks and have started from the very bottom of upper body strength. I did Murph scaled : 1 mile run, 100 ring-rows, 200 knee push-ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run. I did them “broke ass Cindy” style with twenty rounds of 5 ring-rows, 5 knee push-ups, 15 squats, 5 knee push-ups. My A goal was to finish under an hour. My B goal was to finish.

Everything I read told me not to go out too fast for the first mile. At this point is was about ninety degrees, so I don’t think that was going to be too much of a danger. So I started closer to nine minute pace, gradually increasing to around 8:30 where I hovered until I had about a half mile left. I determined I felt good, so I increased until I finished in around 8:15 minutes. It felt like a good warm-up.

I thought the ring-rows, knee push-ups, and squats went fine. I told Bruno, if I learned anything it is that I should probably start doing regular push-ups and banded pull-ups during my regular work outs now. Everything I read/heard also said the push-ups are what will get to you. I am not even sure I can string together 20 regular push-ups (although if I can do 200 on my knees, I probably could), so I worried about that and opted to stick with the knee push-ups. In hindsight, I wish I would have given the regular ones a go at least for a few rounds.

I thought the twenty rounds went quickly, but I think I’m strange. I really like the “chipper” work outs. I looked at it like a six mile run. Every five rounds was a “mile”. I really did not struggle too much mentally during the work out, except towards the very end, but only very mildly because I was almost done.

I did have a rough time during the last mile though both mentally and physically. I ran the whole damn thing. I did not walk. I kept wanting to walk. I knew that even if it took me fifteen minutes to do the last mile, I would still meet my “A” goal, still finish in under an hour. But I refused to let myself. Someone took my picture and I had a few choice words about how I felt. I think the f-bomb was used. I ran the last mile a little over a minute longer than the first 9:30minutes. And I am not kidding when I saw it was the hardest mile I’ve ever run in my life.

I ran back into the box looked at the clock : 51 minutes 15 seconds. I laid down for a good two minutes. I could not stand. I felt so completely wiped. But I also felt like it was a total victory. I was really happy with my time, doing better than I thought I could. I was happy with that last run, because I just kept moving forward. Also, a friend of mine told me that I went out for the last run with the exact same stride as I went out on the first. I was really proud of that. Those 300 squats were not scaled.

I celebrated with some Bud heavy and we went home, showered, ate lunch, and Romwoded (is that a word? It is now) before heading out to a fellow crossfitter’s house to hang out at the pool. It was the perfect victory celebration.

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I feel like our faces say it all: happy, but tired. Also, note the color coordinating. This was not planned. 

 

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Officially my favorite picture of Bruno. 

 

I’m still sore and still tired, but I also feel really proud of myself. It was a really fantastic day.

xo, Ali

 

 

 

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

crossfit, training

I was messaging with a college friend who now lives in Turkey and told her, “I think I might be becoming one of those CrossFit people.” I joked about it, but it is true. I’ve been doing this for three weeks and I really like it, like a lot, a lot.

Rewind back to around two years ago. Me, an injury prone runner decides to strength train to fix imbalances. I buy this book (which is actually really good if you are a responsible human being). I go lift weights two or three times a week. I get told at the grad school welcome back bbq that my arms look amazing. I proceed to work myself into a chest injury. For the next six months I can barely do a push-up. I can still barely do a push-up, but that is beside the point.

I try to return to strength training, but I know my form is probably garbage and that’s why I injured myself. It never sticks.

Somewhere during all this I date, get engaged, and marry Bruno, who really wants to do crossfit, but follows me and my running ways by running too. So, finally, mid-April he asks if when I’m done with my race if we can start to do CrossFit. I’m game, because I want to do strength training and I hear good things about the local “box.” I run my race. Bruno makes the phone calls. We go.

There are a lot of things I try and I’m just not good at, but when I start improving, I start liking said thing. Does that make sense? Ok, so once again, here is something I’m really bad at. And I love it. I start researching it, buying books, etc. just like I do with running. It sounds so messed up, but I love that it hurts. I like the idea of being comfortable with being uncomfortable and even though the thought of ever doing a muscle-up sounds near impossible, that no matter what I “accomplish” I’m just getting training in doing hard things.

Moreover, it appeals to my type-A personality. Suddenly I am presented with so many things I can improve on. Bunches and bunches of things. Even the most simple of things like jump-rope and push-ups. It makes me excited.

The crazy thing is, is that it has been three weeks and I can already see an improvement. Not necessarily body-wise, but I’m sleeping. Like actually sleeping. I have gone almost a full month with no insomnia. I cannot even remember the last time I had a week where I did not have one or two nights where I was up to two or three in the morning. I suspect it is the exhaustion, but I’ve only ended an evening super drained only one or two times (this past Tuesday being one of them). I’m grateful.

I’ve been keeping an eye on things, because I do not want to burn out. I’ve brought back the heart-rate monitor onto my runs and making sure I eat enough, stretch and mobilize plenty, but so far, so good. I feel really good.

That all said, we signed up for Murph on Monday.* So, yeah, prayers may be needed.

xo, Ali

*Will be super-duper scaled, not the impressive in a vest, actual pull-ups, and push-ups kind. Will still be hard.